A schoolboy who is the sole carer for his disabled mum in their council flat has been awarded an £80,000 scholarship to attend Eton.
Ilyan Benamor, 15, went through a gruelling three-day assessment at the Berkshire school, which included three entrance exams and multiple interviews, to win the coveted prize.
He will be among the elite at the world’s most famous school which counts Prince William and prime minister Boris Johnson among its alumni.
Ilyan, from Stratford, east London, said: “I am so excited about Eton but at the same time of course I am worried about being away from my mum.
“I said it when I was 12 and I still feel the same.”
Ilyan’s mother fled war torn Algeria just before he was born, leaving behind his father who is now in a permanent vegetative state following a hit and run accident.
Mum Lalia Amal Chikhaoui, 49, was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine.
She recovered but now suffers from a debilitating condition called Functioning Neurological Disorder (FND) which means she struggles with her mobility and has been confined to a wheelchair.
Since the age of 11, Ilyan has been the sole carer for his mum and in 2017, he won the Newham young carers award.
Ilyan and his mum do not have any family in the UK but his uncle plans to move over to take on the responsibility of caring for Lalia while Ilyan studies at Eton.
She also has a carer provided by Newham Council who comes every day for three hours.
Ilyan added: “I am so proud of my mum. Everything she has been through. If it was not for her fighting to get us to the UK then I would never have got this chance. I love her so much and am so happy at how proud she is.
“It is hard to put into words how grateful I am to my school as well. They have helped me and my mum so much. They even bought me a printer so could print out my work at home. They have gone above and beyond for me so many times.”
Ilyan lives with his mum in a small two bedroom flat in Stratford, among the most deprived parts of the country.
His mum Lalia said: "He is the kindest, most gentle and loving son any mother could ask for. It is now his time to focus on his life and fulfil his potential.”
Ilyan is yet another graduate of the Community School Trusts (CST) prestigious colleges programme which helps disadvantaged pupils win places at top fee-paying schools.
He is the fifth student from CST's Forest Gate Community or Cumberland to win a place at Eton.
CEO Of the Community Schools Trust Simon Elliott said: “Ilyan is exceptional not just in his intellect but also in his character.”
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